|Title||Structure and functioning of the eastern Scotian Shelf ecosystem before and after the collapse of groundfish stocks in the early 1990s|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2005|
|Journal||Canadian Journal Of Fisheries And Aquatic Sciences|
The fishery-induced collapse of the Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) stock on the eastern Scotian Shelf has altered the species composition of this ecosystem. Ecopath mass-balance models of the ecosystem before and after the collapse were developed to explore how the structure, function, and key species of the ecosystem had changed. For the first time, an analysis of uncertainty was conducted to examine the effects of the uncertainty on model estimates. A comparison of the two Ecopath models indicated that although total productivity and total biomass of the ecosystem remained similar, there were changes in predator structure, trophic structure, and energy flow, many of which were robust to uncertainty. Biomass has significantly increased at trophic levels 3 and 4, and the composition of these trophic levels has changed as a result of the mean increase in trophic level of many species-groups. Piscivory has increased, presumably because of the high abundance of small pelagic fish, and the ratio of pelagic feeders to demersal feeders has increased from 0.3 to 3.0. Thus, the ecosystem has changed from a demersal-feeder-dominated system to a pelagic-feeder-dominated system. Although uncertainty remains concerning some model estimates, the ecosystem has been profoundly altered and exhibits classic symptoms of "fishing down the food web". However, overall system properties were generally conserved.
|URL||<Go to ISI>://000231599300001|